Camberwell mum-of-one Charlotte Huggins was stabbed to death by her controlling boyfriend because he was jealous of her relationship with her neighbour, a court was told.
Michael Rolle, 34, allegedly knifed Charlotte Huggins, 33, in the back in John Ruskin Street, Camberwell, in the early hours of New Year’s day.
She was pronounced dead at 4:50am on January 1, in the flat where she grew up and is believed to have been the first person killed in the capital in 2019.
Prosecutor Gareth Patterson, QC, said: ‘The defendant faces a single count of murder.
“About six months ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day in south London, he stabbed to death Charlotte Huggins.
“He forced a large kitchen knife into her back, the blade passing through her lung and damaging a major blood vessel.”
Prosecutor Patterson said Rolle, of Petworth House, East Dulwich, had become jealous of her long-term friend and neighbour Jason Nelson, even though Rolle himself had another partner.
“The prosecution case is that this defendant would behave in a controlling way towards her and he was jealous of any contact she might have with other men.
“The defendant, it seems, was jealous of Charlotte’s relationship with Jason Nelson.”
Prosecutor Patterson explained that on New Year’s Eve, Charlotte went for a drink at the Canterbury Arms in Camberwell.
She arrived at 10pm and enjoyed a couple of drinks with friends.
At around 1:45am, Charlotte left the pub and met with her friend Jason Nelson.
In the opening statement given at the Old Bailey this Wednesday (July 3), the prosecution said that Charlotte and her friend Jason Nelson went back to her home on John Ruskin Street, where she lived with her adopted mother Peggy, and they began drinking beers, smoking cannabis and taking cocaine.
The court was told that at around 4:10am, Rolle arrived at the home where Charlotte and Jason were chatting.
“They had been back at the house for some time by then, they had been drinking and chatting and enjoying their time together,” Prosecutor Patterson said.
“It seems that the defendant acted aggressively.
“He barged passed him [Nelson] into the sitting room where he and Charlotte had been sitting.
“The defendant spoke to Charlotte and then he went back outside again.
“Jason Nelson followed him and describes how the defendant was still acting in an aggressive way.”
The court was told that Rolle then appeared to leave the property and Nelson decided to go home.
But he returned a couple of minutes later: “He realised then that he had left some of his personal possessions in the sitting room,” Prosecutor Patterson explained.
He added that Mr Nelson was fearful Rolle might attack him and took a baseball bat as he walked back to Charlotte’s home.
“It was during this short period that Charlotte was to suffer that fatal stab wound to her back,” he told the court.
The prosecutor described to the court how Nelson is said to have looked over the garden wall and witnessed the immediate aftermath of the stabbing.
“The scene that presented itself to him was the defendant coming out of the front door, of an injured Charlotte Huggins following him out saying that the defendant had stabbed her – she was holding herself around the middle,” he says.
“He saw something that appeared to be the throwing of the knife onto the ground and he heard a distinctive dinging sound,” he added.
Prosecutor Patterson claims that Mr Nelson began screaming: “Having seen and heard these dramatic things, he then sprints away,” he told the court.
The court was also told that a neighbour on John Ruskin Street had heard muffled voices before a male voice shouted “stupid b***h”.
And that Geraldine Cotton also heard Mr Nelson screaming: “Oh my God, he stabbed. Oh my God!”
It was said that Mr Nelson’s brother, Ricky, ran over to Ms Huggins’ home and called 999 before performing chest compressions in a desperate attempt to save their neighbour.
Paramedics arrived and attempted to save her life but she was pronounced dead at 4:50am.
Charlotte’s daughter and her ‘adoptive mother’ Peggy were led out of the home by police and told the horrific news.
Prosecutor Patterson claims that while this was going on, Rolle cycled to the home of his long-term partner Chantelle Anderson.
He claims that Rolle told Ms Anderson that he had stabbed someone before disposing of his clothes in a bin bag, which were later recovered.
The court heard that Charlotte’s blood was found on the hoodie and jeans and that police also recovered a 27cm kitchen knife outside the family home that had traces of Charlotte’s blood on it.
Prosecutor Patterson claimed that Rolle had a history of violent outbursts.
He said that on one occasion, when Charlotte was celebrating her birthday a few days before the alleged killing, Rolle threatened her with a knife and threw a large butcher’s knife at one of her friends.
“Charlotte Huggins and the defendant had a disagreement, he turned nasty, he was offensive to her,” he explained.
“His behaviour culminated in his holding a long bladed kitchen knife in his hand in a threatening manner and pointing it at Charlotte’s stomach.”
Prosecutor Patterson told the court that Charlotte’s friend Vanessa Neil felt a rush of wind as a ‘large knife, a butcher’s chopping knife, was thrown past her face.’
He said that Ms Neil messaged another friend saying: “Thanks for leaving me with that weirdo… that black boy is crazy… I thought he was going to kill one of us… her man nearly killed is with a knife.”
The court was told that Charlotte later texted a friend, telling her that she thought Rolle was a ‘nutcase’.
“The jealousy displayed that night on 28 December was later to feature in his fatal attack on the early hours of New Year’s Day,” added Prosecutor Patterson.
Rolle was arrested three days later on 3 January this year and the court was told: “He tried to escape out of a window when police officers knocked on the door.”
The prosecutor said that it appeared Rolle was drunk and high on drugs: “He tried to headbutt a wall,” Prosecutor Patterson claimed.
The court was told that when interviewed, Rolle told officers that he had grabbed a knife because he was scared of Mr Nelson.
He said Ms Huggins also grabbed a knife “holding it behind her back.”
Rolle claimed that the victim then fell backwards, falling onto the knife.
Prosecutor Patterson asked the court: “Was this some kind of freakish accident or did the defendant himself stab Charlotte Huggins?
“The prosecution’s case is she did not kill herself, Michael Rolle deliberately stabbed Charlotte Huggins.”
Rolle denies murder.
The trial continues…